In a bid to win over still-skeptical progressives, Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled a set of coverage proposals that moved him extra carefully aligned along with his one-time rival, Bernie Sanders. But on the matter of marijuana, the previous vice chairman and presumptive Democratic nominee stays miles away from legalization.
The proposals have been detailed in a lengthy document born out of a Biden-Sanders process drive that tackled quite a few coverage points—from legal justice to local weather change. According to the New York Times, Biden is “expected to adopt many of the recommendations.” The Times famous that a few of the suggestions, reminiscent of economics and the setting, “include broader and costlier plans than [Biden] has championed so far in his campaign.”
But the Biden and Sanders camps stay at loggerheads over quite a few areas, together with hashish coverage. Sanders has lengthy championed legalizing marijuana on the federal stage, the place it stays on the checklist of banned substances. In unveiling his personal complete plan on drug coverage final fall, Sanders vowed to “legalize marijuana and end the horrifically destructive war on drugs,” which he stated “has disproportionately targeted people of color and ruined the lives of millions of Americans.” Biden has steadfastly resisted legalization, a place he reiterated in a careless interview final month on “The Breakfast Club.”
Decriminalization Over Legalization
The coverage paper launched Wednesday by the Biden marketing campaign falls effectively wanting legalization, too, asserting as a substitute that “Democrats will decriminalize marijuana use and reschedule it through executive action on the federal level,” whereas additionally saying they assist the “legalization of medical marijuana.” On the matter of leisure legalization, nevertheless, the paper says solely that “states should be able to make their own decisions,” which is kind of how marijuana coverage has operated within the U.S. since 2012, when Colorado and Washington voters handed measures ending the prohibition of their states.
Marijuana is listed as a schedule I drug beneath the federal Controlled Substances Act, a class that additionally consists of heroin. As outlined by the legislation, schedule I medicine have “ a high potential for abuse,” and “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.”
The process drive reportedly clashed closely over marijuana. Politico reported that “Sanders’ team argued in private meetings that they should legalize cannabis, but that idea was rejected,” with one member of the duty drive telling the web site that the disagreements over hashish coverage have been “huge battles.” As Politico put it: the left “got rolled” on marijuana.
Briahna Joy Gray, who served as Sanders’ press secretary throughout the 2020 marketing campaign, responded to that report on Wednesday with dismay. “Team Biden is demonstrating a mocking disrespect for voters— denying is even the bare minimum, even when it would help him win,” Gray said on Twitter. “There’s honestly no excuse for it.”
Marijuana advocates have been additionally upset. NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri stated that the measures outlined by the duty drive, together with the rescheduling of marijuana on the federal stage, fell effectively brief.
“It is impractical at best and disingenuous at worst for the Biden campaign to move ahead with these policy proposals,” stated Altieri. “Rescheduling of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act would continue to make the federal government the primary dictators of cannabis policy, and would do little if anything to address its criminal status under federal law.”
Altieri continued: ““Rescheduling marijuana is intellectually dishonest. Just as cannabis does not meet the strict criteria of a Schedule I controlled substance, it similarly does not meet the specific criteria that define substances categorized in schedules II through V.”